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wundayatta's avatar

Do your kids do well with your parents?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) June 11th, 2009

Ours are about to spend a week with my parents, and my parents have been harsh on my son, making it not a very nice place for the kids to go. I’ve suggested that they can lighten up and enjoy being grands, but we’ll see. I don’t know if they can put this message together with the fact that they don’t get to see the kids as much to figure out what’s going on.

It’s funny, because my grandparents used to spoil me rotten. Why wouldn’t you? Isn’t that supposed to be a reward of being a grand?

What’s it like between your kids and your parents?

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24 Answers

casheroo's avatar

I only have one, and he’s still quite young so being a grandparent is still fresh for my parents.
They adore him, they try not to spoil him but my mother cannot go to a store without buying him loads of clothes, they sneak him cookies and chocolate covered blueberries.
He is very attached to my mother, whenever I’m not around he views her almost as my replacement, he becomes attached to her hip. He runs to her, wants to be held by her, have her read him books (she does the best funny voices)
They also enjoy giving him back to me when he poops, or does anything messy lol.
Oh, and he’s totally in love with my father, my dad rough houses with him, so he’ll run over and say “Poppy poppy!!” when my dad gets home, and they wrestle for a while. It’s super cute.

cak's avatar

My children adore my parents…they miss their papa – daily. In fact, we saw Up today, it brought tears to all of our eyes – because it reminded us of them.

My parents and now just my mom, have a healthy balance of spoiling and still making sure they behave. Sure, they get away with more, but they were never ones – and my mother certainly isn’t the type to spoil away – and to enforce some boundaries.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

My mother would love to be a grand but neither my sister nor I have been in compliance. That said, I know my mom would be a fantastic grand. My grandparents were my parents for the first 5yrs of my life, the best a person could hope for and I feel my mom wants the chance to have that feeling, through a grandchild. If I could afford it, I’d give her one :D

Blondesjon's avatar

My mom never treated me as well as she does her grandkids.

I love it.

YARNLADY's avatar

My sons grew up loving their grandparents, and my grandsons are now doing the same.

SuperMouse's avatar

My father frankly terrifies my children. He is a very tense guy and gets more so around any young children. If they make too much noise he loses his mind. As a matter of fact he just got to town and was planning to stay with us. When the boys found out he had decided to stay with their aunt, they nearly jumped for joy. My grandparents spoiled us rotten. We used to spend weeks at a time with them during the summer, and lots of weekends during the school year.

Darwin's avatar

My kids have always liked my parents. They feed them well, and always have ice cream in the freezer. They let them watch TV at all hours (I caught my Dad and my daughter, who was 6 at the time, up at midnight watching Xena Warrior-Princess). They have internet connections on two different computers, and when they were in their big house they had a swimming pool, an elevator, a separate kid room full of toys and books, and an art studio where the kids could draw to their hearts’ content.

My dad firmly believes that it is his job to spoil his grandkids as long as they play nicely with each other and say please and thank you.

jonsblond's avatar

Like @Blondesjon said, our parents spoil our children. They don’t see them that often but when they do it is quality time.

Resonantscythe's avatar

I can’t speak for my self, but you mentioning your grandparents spoiling you makes me think of some situations my mother (she babysits for a living) comes across.

Often, due to their spoiling, the grandparents of some of the children will halt or even reverse the development of the children left in their care. This has occurred in different ways, ranging from the child being weened off the bottle more slowly, or halting their leaning to use eating utensils, to the extreme of my mother having to re-potty train them from scratch. There was actually the one case where my mother had to retain the individual boy no less than five times. She’s also had cases where a baby that should be walking cried if not constantly carried to and fro, and kids going through absurdly long “mine!” stages.

Not saying this will/always happens, but I guess from what I’ve seen I want to say be careful how they are spoiled during these times. Of course I don’t know the age range of the children in question in your nor the other answers.

cak's avatar

@Darwin – that is the rule of thumb in my parent’s house…as long as they show manners and are playing nice (in-fighting can get going between the two!) spoiling commences. (not like crazy spoiling, all the time!)

YARNLADY's avatar

@Resonantscythe Sometimes when children follow backsliding, behavior the parents want to ‘blame’ someone instead of recoginze it as perfectly normal. The grandparents are they easiest target. My DIL does this. When my grandson showed biting behavior, she said he must have learned it somewhere, but the truth is, he just made it up himself. He doesn’t bite at my house, because I didn’t give it any attention at all.

Resonantscythe's avatar

@YARNLADY I see…I still have much to learn before I consider the possibility of becoming a parent.

Jack79's avatar

My daughter adores my dad, but hates her other 3 grandparents. Which is understandable if you see their behaviour towards her.

My mother and aunts have a purely financial relationship with her. They buy her nice presents and she just takes the present and leaves. My ex wife’s parents molest her, so she’s obviously terrified of them. But my father spends time with her, teaches her stuff I don’t know (like things about nature, which is not my strong point). They go pick grapes together or dig the garden, and she enjoys that.

wundayatta's avatar

My kids used to like my parents, but the last time, something seems to have happened. They came down really hard on my son for little things, like using the right fork, or slouching at the dinner table, and for backtalk. They used to do exactly the same thing to me, and it just made me resentful. It didn’t change me one bit. I asked exactly the same questions that he does: “Why are manners so important?”

I, at least, try to explain it to him. They don’t bother.

I think it’s a silly thing. They enjoy the kids otherwise, and the kids would enjoy them, except this really makes them nervous. When we were on vacation together, we gave the kids the opportunity to eat separately from us, and they jumped at the chance. I guess my parents made dinnertime miserable for them. I don’t think my daughter annoyed them, but she is really protective of my son, so she felt bad when he felt bad.

I don’t want to tell my parents that the kids aren’t happy to see them. At least, not directly. They’ll get all defensive, and try to justify what they’re doing, and be stubborn. Does anyone wonder where me and my son get our stubbornness? I know this kind of fighting just doesn’t work with stubborn people who know they are in the right, whether they in the right or not. I would have thought my parents would have figured it out with me, but apparently not.

I have a very tricky family, communications-wise. We are not supposed to talk about personal stuff. We are not supposed to analyze each other, or share information about each other. For example, there’s a complicated situation where my brother has had a girlfriend for years, but he acts as if she is not his girlfriend, and he’s always looking for someone else. He’s never brought her to any family functions. He might be moving in with her, but he hasn’t told me. He’s told my parents, but they felt really bad telling me, like they would get in trouble for it.

The complication is that she was my friend first. So I can invite her to family functions at my house, since she’s my friend, and she’ll even share a room with my brother. But he has never invited her to one. Another complication is that he got the lesson about not talking about feelings or sharing any personal information much better than I did (as you can see from what I write here). Ai-yi-yi! Oy veh is mir! Christ in a handbasket! Settling the Middle East conflict looks like child’s play compared to this!

casheroo's avatar

@daloon I think that situation is hard to deal with, since they don’t seem to intentionally do it to hurt your son, I guess they just believe in being more strict on boys.
I think you definitely need to say something, because your children are still young and you don’t want the relationship between your parents and them to be tainted.
I can’t imagine how you’d approach it though, given what you’ve said about how they communicate (or don’t). In my family, I’ve seen my mother discipline my child, and then she apologizes to me (if she disciplines him in front of me) I tell her she doesn’t need to apologize, because I can’t always come running when he does something bad, and if she’s right there then she can do it. But, I’ve told her we don’t want to do spaking or yelling, she’s actually the one that got me 123 Magic, and has been giving me advice on how to react better when my son does something wrong. If she ever did something inappropriate with my child, I’d tell her not to.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I feel my mom is a psychopath – when she watches my oldest, I’m always around to make sure that she doesn’t do what she believes is correct parenting. I don’t trust her completely but I know that he does have fun with her most of the time.

ubersiren's avatar

We’re actually at my parents’ now. My dad just watched the little ‘un while hubs and I went out for drinks. My mom hid in her smoke filled dungeon most of the time… but he loves all 4 of his grandparents. Being here at my parents is a big treat because they live several hours away, but my in-laws have him about every other weekend, at least for a few hours. They love having him, and he loves to be there.

@daloon: that’s so sad that the relationship is strained there. Maybe you could suggest to the kids that they are old and set in their ways and old people are crazy. It’s not personal and they are still loved. My mother is sort of that way about her smoking. When we can afford it we sleep in a hotel, or if available, a friend’s house when we’re in town because the house is just far too smokey for us to be in long. She gets offended when we stay somewhere else, and even more offended when we tell her that we can’t breath in her house.

cak's avatar

Is there a way to defuse this without degrading your parents, in front of your children and to lessen the situation, before your children go over to your parent’s house?

I guess we operate under a simple rule. When you go to another person’s house – be it grandparents, friends or school teachers, the children are to follow the rules of that household. as well as our rules, that is a given. If it means no slouching, well – it may suck, but it’s no slouching. If it means that the tone must be changed – again, tone is changed.

This way he already understands what will be expected and it’s understood that this is just how behavior is at the grandparent’s house, therefore the anxiety might be lowered. Also, it may make it easier on him, in the long run to just know that it is their expectation of him, their house – their rules.

It may not be perfect, but wouldn’t be easier to arm him with the knowledge that it probably won’t change, but following a few of their rules, might might Camp Grandparents a better place to stay.

I hated going to the church my Grandmother attended. It was a backwards, women should be home with their children…barefoot and pregnant church. However, it was part of the deal. You must attend, if you want to have fun at their house.

Judi's avatar

My kids were blessed with 3 sets of grand parents. Each were so unique and different. One they could talk to about anything, one never forgot a birthday or holiday and one took them on adventurious trips. All had their faults ( some worse than others) but the combination gave my children a great perspective on life. For all their faults I don’t think I would change a thing about my kids relationship with their grandparents.

Darwin's avatar

My kids also operate under the “their house, their rules” system.

Unfortunately, visiting the grandparents also means visiting their uncle and aunt, who are great people but who have very relaxed standards. It always makes going back home to our house, our rules a bit tricky.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Darwin
yeah, I never do that ‘their house their rules’
I do ‘anyone’s house, our rules + any other rules for their house’

Judi's avatar

My daughter put MIL in her place when she put her son in the naughty corner after he went to grandma for something mom had forbid. Grandma said “but I told him he could!”
My daughter said “he knows the rules, and he needs to know that no one over rides mom and dad. ”
Grandma hated seeing her grandson being punished for something she caused and has checked with mom every since.

cak's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir & @Judi – that’s why I said we do the their rules and our rules just in case the set of rules for the other house, is not to our usual rules.

Narl's avatar

My mom treats my kids the same way! I keep telling my mom to be a grandmother, not a parental figure that constantly tells them what to do! She won’t listen, and she continues to bark orders at them, and then she wonders why they don’t like her.

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